Rep. Issa Says Heartland Decision Is Victory Against Patent Trolls

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)—chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet and himself a patent holder—praised the unanimous Supreme Court decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods.

The Supreme Court ruled that when it said a patent infringement lawsuit can only be brought against a company in the district in which it was based that is exactly what it meant.

He called the decision a "major, long-overdue victory for the integrity of our patent system. As a patent holder and a former small business owner myself, I know first-hand how harmful and expensive this predatory litigation can be for American entrepreneurs. Instead of investing to hire new workers or expand their products, many are forced to spend millions defending the rights to their own intellectual property in court—often thousands of miles away in a venue cherry-picked for its favorability to the plaintiffs. I’m glad to see the Court deliver a sweeping rebuke to the patent trolls who regularly prey on our nation’s innovators and stand up for the patent-holders who need protection from these frivolous lawsuits.”

The Consumer Technology Association (Issa is a former member) was equally pleased, saying patent abuse costs the country some $80 billion a year.

"The Supreme Court's unanimous decision sends a strong message to patent trolls: knock it off," said CTA president Gary Shapiro. "Now small and medium-sized businesses have a fairer chance of fighting against bogus patent extortion attempts. While the decision ending venue shopping will strengthen our patent system and slow down abuse, we still need Congress to act and pass legislation to close additional loopholes exploited by patent trolls."

TechNet added its high five to the crowd.  

“The Supreme Court has issued a significant ruling in the longstanding battle against those who would abuse our patent system," said TechNet President Linda Moore. "By ensuring that lawsuits must be filed in the states where defendants are incorporated, this ruling will help limit the practice of forum shopping and curb frivolous lawsuits.

“Ultimately, TechNet believes Congress should approve comprehensive patent reform legislation.  We support a system that will level the playing field to promote innovation in all sectors of the economy and minimize litigation without merit.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.